New Look New Year

Readers may have noticed that as of the New Year, Social Correspondence has a new look.  Going into year five, it was time to make some updates to improve both functionality and readability. First, sincere thanks to Sara of JuicyDesign.  JuicyDesign created the original Social Correspondence site, and thanks to Sara’s web design expertise, the theme (or template) is now updated.  Sara is a dream to work with, should you be contemplating creating your own site. Among the changes: the site is now configured for clearer viewing on your smart phone or tablet as well as…

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Heron’s Head Park
Sunken pier

Heron’s Head Park

In the southeast sector of San Francisco, where the shoreline faces the bay, there lies a finger of land known as Heron’s Head Park.   Located just blocks from the postal substation on Evans Street in the Bayview district, the park is so named because, from the air, the land resembles the head of a heron. Heron’s Head Park is owned by the City and managed by the Port of San Francisco. It is the perfect place to take a short walk and to experience a lesser-known part of the waterfront. It is a place where one…

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Favorite Books 2017

New enticing titles are on the horizon in 2018, but looking back, I would like to share some of my favorite books from 2017. Many “best books” of the year lists are compiled near the end of the year – check out New York Times, Washington Post, NPR, and Publishers Weekly, to name just a few. While some of my favorite books are crossovers from these lists, and/or appear on local and/or national bestsellers lists, my lists are by no means comprehensive or definitive. The following reading suggestions are merely those that I found most enjoyable…

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Holiday Greetings

As another year draws to conclusion, it is time once again to extend sincere holiday greetings to friends and family, near and far. This, of course, includes the readers of Social Correspondence! Thank you for allowing me into your lives over this past year.  For those of you who have shared comments, subjected yourselves to interviews, or contributed guest columns, special thanks! Our mailbox has been filled daily for the past couple of months. First, there was that annual slew of holiday catalogs, offering tantalizing glimpses of everything from flannel pajamas to expensive electronic equipment. Despite…

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Calistoga: After the Fires

Most of us have favorite go-to places, destinations that refresh us but are not necessarily far from home.  It could be a walk in the woods, a stroll around the lake, or simply relaxing in one’s own backyard.  The historic town of Calistoga, in the Napa Valley, California, has long been one of my favorite retreats. Calistoga is just far enough away from home to feel like a true getaway.  Even given today’s difficult traffic conditions, a trip to Calistoga can be accomplished in just under two hours. The town is known for its natural hot…

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Heroic Postal Carriers

Modern day heroes, including heroic postal carriers, have a way of emerging during catastrophic times. Ordinary men and women, going about the daily business of life and work, step up to the plate to perform heroic acts during the most trying of events. This fall has presented many life changing challenges, as well as opportunities for such heroism. Hurricanes and floods battered and inundated Texas, Florida, Louisiana, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and beyond. Earthquakes in central and southern Mexico shattered buildings and lives. Closer to home, in the San Francisco Bay Area, wildfires are…

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Postcards and Notes
Volkswagen buses meet on Old Route 66

Postcards and Notes

Summer and fall are excellent times for vacation, and there is no better way to share those experiences than by sending postcards and notes by mail. It’s quick, it’s easy, and there are beautiful options to represent those good times. But more to the point, postcards and notes are a great way to communicate, anytime and any place. “Having a great time in (fill in the blank). Wish you were here.” This is a standard cliché about messages on postcards, that they are rote and say very little. But nothing could be further from the truth.…

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Royal Mail Delivers Your Letters – and Packages, Too!
Letterbox pillar, St. Ives

Royal Mail Delivers Your Letters – and Packages, Too!

My recent visit to the United Kingdom would not have been complete without checking out the Royal Mail. Picturesque letterboxes led me to believe that a sweet, old-fashioned post office would be just around the corner, but that turned out not to be the case. The post office in St. Ives (Cambridgeshire) is co-located in the back of WHSmith, which is, in this location, a news and sundry store. One can purchase any one of three daily newspapers, a bottle of water, an umbrella, a Cadbury’s (now owned by Hershey) chocolate bar and various other snacks…

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A Visit to St. Ives
Rowers from St. Ives Rowing Club cross under Chapel Bridge

A Visit to St. Ives

For a brief four days, I have been visiting the lovely village of St. Ives, in Cambridgeshire, UK (not to be confused with that other St. Ives in Cornwall).  While the main purpose of the visit is to spend a bit of time with my daughter, I also am very much taken by this picturesque old English town, which originates in the 9th century. St. Ives is located on the Great River Ouse, just thirty minutes away from the university town of Cambridge.   Flocks of snowy white swans gather in the water on the quay, near…

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Banner Year for Stamps
Protect Pollinators stamps

Banner Year for Stamps

If you like to put something pretty, creative or unique on your envelopes, this has been a banner year for stamps. From the transformative Total Solar Eclipse stamp to the newly released Protect Pollinators or Sharks Forever stamps, the U.S. Postal Service has a Forever stamp for you. My personal preferences for stamps include nature, animals, art, and literature. Fortunately, many of stamps issued this year, or yet to be issued in 2017, fit in at least one of these categories, and often more than one. Following four years of drought in California, our yard was…

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